Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."
last word of General Jackson

Indiciative of the problems encountered attempting to run the Confederacy is that post war the former CSA members could never agree on when Confederate Memorial Day was to be observed.  The Carolina's and Pennsylvania (not normally considered a southern state) chose May 10 for their observance, which not coincidently is the date of perhaps the second most revered Confederate General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson's death.

For anyone curious to learn more about the Civil War in laymen's language I recommend the Disunion blog on the New York Times Opinionator page.

This is Ben Cleary's post on the Death of Jackson

The Death of Jackson

Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.
It was around 9 p.m. on May 2, 1863, during what would later be known as the Battle of Chancellorsville in central Virginia. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, with a few aides, was in front of Confederate lines scouting the federal position. The day had been a horrible one; Jackson, a senior general under Robert E. Lee, had attacked the Union’s right flank, demolishing the XI Corps. But the Union troops regrouped and counterattacked, and night fell on a confusing, bloody scene. Thousands were dead; thousands more would die in the coming days.
Jackson had decided to venture forth to see the damage and plan for the next day. Suddenly there was a shot; then a volley. They came from the 18th North Carolina Regiment, who mistook the general and his party for Union cavalry.
Jackson’s horse bolted, charging into the trees. He checked him with difficulty. “Cease firing!” yelled Lt. Joseph G. Morrison, Jackson’s brother-in-law and a member of his entourage. “You are firing into your own men.”
But the chaos continued. “Who gave that order?” replied Major John D. Barry of the 18th. “It’s a lie! Pour it into them, boys!” The North Carolinians obeyed with another volley.
Jackson was hit three times. His horse bolted again. This time it could be stopped only by two of his aides.
When the firing stopped, Jackson’s men gathered around him. It took a few minutes for them to realize that their general, a living god who ranked just below Robert E. Lee in the Confederate pantheon, had been seriously wounded. “How do you feel, General?” asked Capt. R.E. Wilbourn after he halted Jackson’s horse. “Can you move your fingers?”
Jackson could not. His arm was broken. A musket ball had broken two bones in his right hand; a second bullet hit the left forearm. The third wound was the most dire: the bullet struck him about three inches below the left shoulder, severing the artery and breaking the bone. Jackson, nearly fainting, was helped from his horse. His aides supported him as he staggered into the woods to lie down. They gave him a little whiskey, which the teetotaling general resisted before drinking. Then they applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
A federal attack seemed imminent. The general had to be moved. The officers tried to walk him back to Confederate lines, but it became obvious that he was too weak. They placed him on a stretcher, just as Union artillery opened fire. Canister and grapeshot ripped through the woods and struck sparks on the road. One of the stretcher-bearers fell, wounded in both arms. An officer caught the handle of the stretcher just in time; Jackson did not fall.
The firing continued. The soldiers lay around Jackson, shielding him with their bodies. Shortly thereafter, still under fire, they again tried to help the wounded general walk. Again he was too weak. They returned him to the litter. They had not gone far before one of the bearers tripped. This time Jackson fell. He groaned in pain.
Finally the party found a horse-drawn ambulance. Morrison got in to hold the general’s wounded arm. At Chancellor’s, the house from which the battle took its name, the men were joined by Jackson’s friend and medical director for his unit, Dr. Hunter McGuire. “I am badly injured, Doctor; I fear I am dying,” Jackson told him. “I am glad you have come. I think the wound in my shoulder is still bleeding.”
The situation was grave. “I found his clothes still saturated with blood,” wrote McGuire, “and blood still oozing from the wound.” McGuire put his finger on the artery. “Then I readjusted the handkerchief which had been used as a tourniquet, but which had slipped a little.” If he hadn’t done so, McGuire said, “he would probably have died in 10 minutes.”
Jackson was in tremendous pain, but controlled it, wrote McGuire, “by his iron will.” Still, the doctor noted that his lips “were so tightly compressed that the impression of his teeth could be seen through them.”
McGuire administered whiskey and morphine, and rode with Jackson in the ambulance to a field hospital some four miles away. There, Jackson was stabilized in a hospital tent. A team of doctors assembled. Chloroform would be administered, McGuire told Jackson around 2 a.m. His wounds would be examined. Amputation was probable. Did the general consent?
“Yes, certainly, Dr. McGuire, do for me whatever you think best.”
The anesthetic took effect. “What an infinite blessing!” said Jackson. He repeated the last word “Blessing … blessing …” as he drifted off. The musket ball was removed from his right hand; then his left arm was amputated.
Afterward, Jackson seemed to be doing well. He ate and drank and talked to visitors about military matters and theology. He also sent Morrison to Richmond to bring Anna — Jackson’s wife and Morrison’s sister — to be with him as he convalesced. One puzzling and disturbing episode: a pain in his side. Jackson told McGuire he had injured it during his fall from the litter the night before. McGuire examined him and found nothing.
Civil War Timeline
Fort Sumter
An unfolding history of the Civil War with photos and articles from the Times archive and ongoing commentary from Disunion contributors.
Meanwhile, the Battle of Chancellorsville continued; May 3 was the second-bloodiest day of the war. Robert E. Lee feared the hospital would be overrun. He sent word for Jackson to be moved, suggesting Guinea Station, some 27 miles east and south on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. From there, Jackson could easily be evacuated further south if necessary.
The move was accomplished Monday, May 4. “The rough teamsters sometimes refused to move their loaded wagons out of the way for an ambulance until told that it contained Jackson,” McGuire wrote, “and then, with all possible speed, they gave the way and stood with hats off and weeping as he went by.” The country people brought such gifts of food as were to be had from their meager stores “and with tearful eyes they blessed him and prayed for his recovery.”
At Guinea Station Jackson seemed to be recovering. He settled into the plantation office of “Fairfield,” the home of the plantation owner Thomas Chandler, and slept well the first night. McGuire was optimistic. He was also vigilant, strictly limiting the number of visitors and watching through the night while Jackson slept.
Jackson’s chaplain, the Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy, arrived the next day. He held a bedside prayer service, which deeply gratified the profoundly religious Jackson. Lacy later took Jackson’s amputated arm to Ellwood, his brother’s nearby home, and buried it in the family cemetery, and returned the next morning for another prayer service. That evening, thinking that Jackson’s recovery was underway, McGuire allowed himself to sleep on the couch in the sickroom.
Jackson awoke with nausea around 1 a.m. He directed his body servant, Jim Lewis, to wet a towel with cold water and place it on the painful area on his side. Lewis wanted to wake McGuire. Jackson refused, knowing how much sleep the doctor had lost the last few nights. The hydrotherapy continued until dawn, with Jackson’s pain increasing. When McGuire awoke and examined his patient, he diagnosed pneumonia, certainly resulting from his fall from the litter the night he was wounded.
Mrs. Jackson arrived with their infant daughter as the crisis was unfolding. She seemed to sense the prognosis immediately.
More doctors arrived. There were consultations, prayers and hymns. Jackson sank into delirium, talking as though he were still commanding his troops. Then he would rally, talking to his wife and playing with his daughter. “Little comforter,” he called her, still insisting to those around him that he would recover. He was relieved to learn that Lee had won the field at Chancellorsville, though at an almost incomprehensible cost of 13,000 casualties, against the Union’s 17,000.
But Jackson continued to decline, and by Sunday, May 10, McGuire was certain that he would not last the day. Mrs. Jackson went into him and, weeping, broke the news. Jackson sent for McGuire. “Doctor,” he said, “Anna informs me that you have told her I am to die today; is it so?”
McGuire answered in the affirmative.
“Very good, very good,” said Jackson. “It is all right.”
He tried to comfort his wife. After he died, he said, she should return to live with her father, who was “kind and good.” They discussed his wish to be buried in Lexington, Va., near where they had lived when he taught at the Virginia Military Institute.
There was a farewell visit with his daughter. “Little darling,” he called her. “Sweet one.”
Before sinking into a final delirium, he took note of the time. “It is the Lord’s Day,” he said. “I have always desired to die on Sunday.” He then began talking as though he was still on the battlefield: “Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front!”
Jackson died at 3:15 p.m. His final words: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Puzzler

My bride and I met over a Sunday crossword puzzle.  I was quietly sitting by the apartment pool working the Times puzzzle when she took umbrage with one my answers.  I detest people looking over my shoulder when I'm working especially when they are right and my practice answer is incorrect.  Hoping for a repeat along with a bit of peace, the next Sunday I brought 2 papers along with 2 pens. We've been puzzling since.

Our neighbors were likely Chiropractic students at the local college, most with a limited grasp of the liberal arts, and for quite a few English was neither a first or second language.  To assist the language skills of her nearest neighbors, former teacher, later Mrs. T, would copy the cryptoquip from the daily paper for her "students", expecting their finished answers by a set time when she would explain the joke.

Our daily newspaper habit has evolved so that now we pull out the puzzle pages and toss the rest of the paper.  We each have our domains.  I suduko, she cryptoquip's and we fight over the crosswords.

Perhaps the greatest Cryptoquip ever was in yesterday's paper.  Try it you'll love it.

Directions: The Cryptoquip is a substitution cipher in which one letter stands for another.  If you think X equals O, it will equal O throughout the puzzle.

In this puzzle A = S





Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hardest Workin Man in Showbiz

Should you find yourself in or near Augusta, Georgia on your way to the beach, stop in and find the James Brown statue downtown on Broad Street between 8th and 9th, you'll be glad you did.  First thing you notice is that it's not standing on a plinth, James life sized is a man of the street.  Next, is his grin.  Bandmates say they couldn't get the grin off him for days after the artist took reference photos.

For much of his life James was banned from Augusta.  He won his early release from a youthful robbery conviction on the promise of never returning to his home town.  Try as he might he couldn't stay away from home for long. Eventually, Augusta welcomed him home.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Blue Angels

Between our house and the river is a non commercial airport, used primarily by the jet set crowd. Fifty one weeks each year the airport is a good neighbor. They do a great job reinforcing the noise abatement requirements, bring in well paying jobs, and are unusually candid when speaking publically. Mayberry likes its airport. The fifty second week, this week in fact, we LOVE our airport, it's air show weekend.

Blue Angels support team arriving

There are planes of all ages and sizes but the star of the show is the US Navy Blue Angels precision flight demonstration team. There are two ways to see the team in action. The first is to buy your ticket and take your chances. A crowd is promised for each weekend performance, parking is distant and portapotties dear.

The second is to take advantage of the early bird specials. The Blue Angels and groups sponsoring them are all about publicity. The team doesn't just show up in the morning and put on a show in the afternoon. The arrive several days early, make themselves available to media and who ever else shows up, then practice their routine at the times the event planners have them scheduled for 2 days prior to the show.

To jumble the meaning and intent of President Kennedy's inaugural speech when asked what my country could do for me I said put on an air show, and so it did.  I was in the cheap seats directly across the runway.

A crowd of maybe 50 showed for the afternoon practice.  From our vantage point the Blue Angels were a  hop skip and jump away. Generally, the US military gets uncomfortable when their aircraft are in close proximity to civilians.

The Navy puts on a wonderful show, and I am grateful to see it from such a vantage point, but I couldn't help imagining the what the practice cost, per viewer, was yesterday afternoon.  From my perspective- Priceless

If your in the area I suggest you take in a show, contact a local they know the best places, away from the crowds and traffic, to see the best of the best doing what they do best.


Friday, May 2, 2014


Lawrin the only Kansas bred thoroughbred to win the Kentucky Derby-1938

As a lad I lived in Prairie Village, Kansas a suburb of Kansas City.  At that time PV was  doing the slow roll from farmland to suburbs.  The streets in KC and its neighbors are numbered 1 Street, 1 Street terrace, 2nd street.... to 1,000,000 now.  At the time there were farms at 90th while the world ended at 100 street.  I lived at 70th terrace.

The summer drill at my home was dinner was at 6, do not be late.  That was my sole responsibility as a kid.  Go away, come back by 6, don't be hanging around here.  My buddies and I rode our bikes everywhere, especially to the community pool which was on 77th street, across the park from Dr. Phil McGraw's high school (he wasn't always a Texan), he lived in PV too.

Long gone by then, but spoken about by local old timers was the Woolford horse farm, home to Lawrin, the only Kansas bred Kentucky Derby winner (1938) ridden by Eddie Acaro in his first Derby win.

His stables may be long gone, but Lawrin and his sire Insco were buried on the farm.  Their gravesite is now located in a suburban cul-de sac, near 82nd street,  a few blocks from our old stomping grounds.

I love Derby Day


Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day

1 May 1865, Charleston, South Carolina

“I might tell you a great deal about Charleston, but to-day I will speak of one incident only – the first celebration of May-day in free South Carolina. When our soldiers were made prisoners by the rebels they were carried to Belle Isle, near Richmond, or to Salisbury, in North Carolina, or to Andersonville, in Georgia, or to Charleston. . . . Here they were detained on what is called the Race Course. Charleston was once noted as the head-quarters of a jockey club, and many of the finest horses in the country were owned, and raised, and raced here. . . . Robust, healthy young men soon sickened under this [cruel imprisonment], and many of them died. Two hundred and fifty-seven of them were found dead, and were buried in an enclosed piece of pasture near by. . . .

Accompanied by a few friends, I went out one day and saw their graves; and on them the marks of the hoofs of cattle and horses and of the feet of men. Very sad we felt when we looked on these melancholy red mounds and on this wicked profanation of the resting-places of our martyrs. We all sat down and thought what we should do. We resolved to have a fence built around it, and, if we could raise the money, a monument erected to the memory of the soldiers who rested from their sufferings below. The general gave me liberty to pull down some rebel buildings not far off, and nearly thirty colored men volunteered to put up the fence, without any wages or reward. Very soon there was more than half an acre enclosed.

On May-day I told all the colored children of the free schools of Charleston to go out to the Race Course with bouquets of roses and other sweet-smelling flowers, and throw them on the graves of our martyrs. Nearly three thousand children went out, and perhaps double that number of grown-up people. The children marched from the Race Course singing the John Brown Song, and then, silently and reverently, and with heads uncovered, they entered the burial ground and covered the graves with flowers. Afterwards they went to the fields near by and sang the ‘Star Spangled Banner,’ ‘America,’ and ‘Rally Round the Flag.’

This is how the colored children spent May-day in Charleston. It was the first free May-day gathering they had ever enjoyed.”

Uncle James [James Redpath], “Eye and Ear Notes: May-Day in Charleston, S.C.,” The Youth’s Companion 38 (1 June 1865): 86.

“In the last autumn of the Civil War, in 1864, two hundred and forty-nine Union soldiers, prisoners of war, died while confined upon the race-course in Charleston, S. C., and were buried there in two rows of graves. In April, 1865, the war was over, and the flag was raised again on Fort Sumter with patriotic ceremonies, including an oration by Henry Ward Beecher, especially named for that service by President Lincoln. . . . James Redpath had recently been appointed superintendent of education in Charleston, and he suggested to Rear-Admiral Dahlgren, present as commander of the United States fleet, to come ashore May 1 and assist in the decoration of these soldiers’ graves, among which were some of the sailors in the United States navy. Other engagements kept Admiral Dahlgren from taking part in the ceremony, which was carried out by Mr. Redpath and a number of his teachers. . . . Among those who spoke on that first Memorial Day, besides Mr. Redpath, were Gens. Stewart L. Woodford, James Hartwell, and James C. Beecher, brother of Henry Ward Beecher. . . . The wives of several of these gentlemen were present, and Mrs. James C. Beecher directed the negro women who took part in the celebration.”

“Memorial-Day Texts and Suggestions,” The Homiletic Review 39 (May 1900): 431.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Help wanted

Forget politics and suspend judgement while you think back to the day before you ever heard of Edward Snowden. Edward was a young man with a good job, working in a cube in a nondescript office building, in a beautiful Maryland town, attempting to keep democracy out of government. Likely he flirted with a woman down the hall, lunched with his peers, went home to his cat at the end of the day. Edward also had a boss, in a heirarchy with expectations, responsible for head count, payroll and performance. Then one day Ed goes walkabout.

Things will never be the same in his old office. First, there's the guys in bad suits crawling over every inch of space in the building looking for what, they don't know and know they don't. New computers and multiple passwords for everyone not forcibly reassigned to Tallahasse, along with endless grilling of the troops by real spooks. Relentless re-education. Eventually things in the office return to new normal and the boss realizes he still has an important job to do, his reward structure hadn't changed and his headcount was down.

Imagine the applicant search, or a candidate tiptoeing through that job search minefield. "Wanted, contractor to replace Edward Snowden...."